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All About SNAP

Brooke Marsal, MS, RD
July 22, 2021

The Supplemental Food and Nutrition Program (SNAP) is a federal program to help people get the food they need for themselves and their families. SNAP gives people money that can be used at grocery stores, corner stores, and other locations to buy food. This cash is on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card that can be used as a debit card. In this article, we will introduce more about SNAP.

What Can You Buy with SNAP Dollars?

SNAP dollars can be used to buy basic food such as bread, cereals, grains, beans, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and dairy products. They cannot be used at restaurants or to buy hot food, liquor, tobacco, vitamins, medicine, or household supplies. 

Who Can Apply?

To be eligible for SNAP, your gross income can be no more than 130% of the federal poverty level. Below is a look at what this means for each household size in 2021. Click here for more information.Eligibility for Elderly and Disabled Individuals

Eligibility for Elderly and Disabled Individuals

Slightly different rules exist for those who are elderly or disabled. Those living in an institution are not eligible for SNAP if the institution provides most of the meals. However, residents of subsidized housing or those living in certain nonprofit group arrangements may receive SNAP benefits even if most of their meals are provided for them. The income limits for seniors and disabled persons are also slightly different, depending on if an individual is receiving other government benefits such as disability or SSI benefits. Click here for more information on eligibility for elderly and disabled individuals. 

How to Apply for SNAP

Contact your local SNAP office to apply for benefits. To find this information, click on this link then click on the state you live in. If needed, members of local food banks can often help with application assistance.

How Much Money is Distributed Per Month

The amount distributed per month depends on financial needs and household size. Below is a look at the maximum monthly benefit amount for 2021. For more information on how this is determined click here


It can be challenging to live on a small budget and buy healthy foods. That’s why SNAP was created. If you feel that you need extra money for food, call your local SNAP office. They can help you figure out if you are eligible and help you apply. For ideas of cooking with healthy foods you get, explore the Feeding America’s Recipe page.